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The Past

Ivybridge was first mentioned in 1280 as a "dowry of land on the west side of the river Erme, by the Ivy Bridge" The bridge spanning the river was only wide enough for pack horses and riders. In the 18th century, Ivybridge was a small but thriving community based around the London Hotel, now demolished, which was used as a stage point on the road from Exeter and Plymouth. The Blatchford Estate (Rogers Family) owned most of the land and included the parishes of Harford, Ugborough, Ermington and Cornwood. The boundaries of these parishes met at the old Ivy Bridge.

Industry grew alongside of the bridge, and the river was used for power. Records show that on the 16th century there was a tin mill, a edge mill, tool mill and corn mill. The corn mill was situated where the shopping centre is now. These were then followed by the tucking mill (for making cloth) and two paper mills. Water leats were built to direct the water to the mills. In more recent times the village boasted its own gas and electricity works and a cinema. Houses were built to house the workers who moved into the village. As the village grew the bridge was widened to allow wagons and coaches to pass. The bridge was the only means of crossing the river until 1819 when the turnpike was straightened and the New Bridge was built joining Exeter Road and Fore Street. In 1817 the population was calculated to be 477, it is now believed to be approximately 12,000.

(C1900s)Allens Cottages built by Allens for workers in the paper mill.
The road then was made of earth. When someone who lived in one of
the cottages was ill the road was strewn with straw to prevent the cart
wheels from disturbing them. Mr Williams was employed by the
Council to clean the road in inclement conditions. Marley the Tailor's
shop later became a bicycle shop, hardware shop and is now a
Chinese Takeaway.
(©Ivor Martin with kind permission)

 

 

 

Photo of Allan's Cottages (C1900)

(C1900s) The bicycle shop, on the right is the diary. In the last 50 years cows were still being driven through the archway for milking.
(©Ivor Martin with kind permission)

The bicycle shop

(C1900s) Fore Street looking up from the Glanvilles Mill entrance. On
the right is the Kings Arms which later became the Fighting Cock and
is now the Exchange.
 (©Ivor Martin with kind permission)

Picture of Fore Stree (c1900)

The Present

When the By-pass opened in 1973, Ivybridge took on a
new lease of life and in 1977 the village became a town.
Access to Plymouth and Exeter became easier and
Ivybridge became the ideal place to live, the new town
began to grow. Glanvilles Mill shopping precinct and a new
Leisure Centre was built to meet the needs of the growing
population. New industrial estates were built to replace the
old style "mills" The Tourist Information Centre opened to
attract visitors to Ivybridge, the South Hams and Southern
Dartmoor. The new Town Hall, an elegant building on
Leonard's Road is much more convenient for visitors. Recently to ease the flow of traffic in Fore Street a relief road has been constructed, pedestrianised shopping is much a more pleasant experience. The new Railway Station, built forty years after the old station closed, provides a large car park and alternative access to the South Hams.

 

Photograph of Ivybridge Town Hall

Photograph of Glanvilles Mill

Photograph of Fore Street Ivybridge